France boss Didier Deschamps felt his team were full value for the point earned in the 1-1 draw with Spain at the Vicente Calderon.
Olivier Giroud salvaged a point for Les Bleus with a 94th minute header after coming on as a substitute just five minutes earlier, but Deschamps believed that if his side had lost the game it would have been an injustice.
”In the first half we struggled, although we defended well, but they didn’t allow us much of the ball and we showed practically nothing in attack, but don’t forget we had a perfectly legal goal disallowed.
”During the second half we showed presence and had more chances because we played freely and deserved our point,” Deschamps told a Press conference, before acknowledging that the second-half introduction of Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena had changed the dynamics of his team.
“Valbuena did a great job in helping us keep the ball, but the players in the first half did well while those that came on also contributed a lot. We had to keep working as a unit to get the ball back so we could attack more.
“We were forced to defend at times although we maintained confidence until the end. The intention was to be more ambitious as the game progressed.”
Deschamps said France had more chances to score in the second half – ‘ten against two’ – and could even have won. However, he feels his players still have a long way to go to be up there with the very best.
“Let’s be clear about it. We were facing the best team in Europe and the world and my players have been rewarded for their efforts. If this game injects more enthusiasm into them then it will have been good, but just because we have drawn with Spain does not make us the best.
“We are a young team that does not do everything right, but we have lots of character and there is much room for improvement.”
If all goes to plan, the former Marseille, Juventus, Chelsea and Valencia midfielder believes the return meeting at the Stade de France will be crucial in deciding which of the two teams qualifies automatically for the 2014 World Cup.
“Even if we had lost this game it would not have altered my confidence in this team. We lack international experience and games like this allow us to grow.
“We possess enough quality and have the time to gain that experience, although the aim is to qualify for Brazil. This is the first step and one way or another we need to do that,” he concluded.